Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Review of The Unofficial Lego Builder's Guide, 2nd Edition!

I have been given the amazing opportunity to review yet another awesome Lego book and share the details with you all! The Unofficial Lego Builder's Guide, 2nd Edition is a new book by Allan Bedford, recently released by No Starch Press.

My first impressions of this book were that it was immensely packed with information! The 200+ pages all contain tip-after-tip for learning to build with Lego, improving Lego building skills, or just getting ideas for building. When I first received this book, I flipped through it quickly and was struck by the thought that this could easily be a textbook for a Lego building class, if such a thing exists. (If it does not, it ought to exist, and I would love to be the first to sign up...especially if this book were to be used!) Quite frankly, this book is awesome.

The Unofficial Lego Builder's Guide begins by covering the very basics of Lego building before continuing to a discussion of scales in Lego (minifigure scale, miniland, microscale, etc). Chapters are then devoted to such topics as sculptures, mosaics, conceptualizing a Lego design (deciding on things like shape, color, proportion, and repetition), and other things to do with Lego (such as creating custom building instructions or making games). Interspersed among the chapters are step-by-step instructions for small projects related to the chapter. These projects are well-explained and help solidify the point being made in the text. The author has chosen the examples well, and the inclusion of a myriad of pictures lends descriptive power.

A train station for which instructions are given to illustrate design techniques
The final two sections of the book differ slightly from the others. The first is called the Brickopedia. This visual encyclopedia of Lego brick shapes/styles gives a lot of information (such as name, part number, and notes for usage) for each listing. The selection of bricks is massive, and yet, by the author's own admission, it contains only a fraction of the total Lego piece catalog. All of the bricks are separated by category, and there is also a section of special Lego elements, which could be very useful in creating new models. The second slightly different chapter details the use of design grids in conceptualizing and designing Lego models by using what are essentially Lego blueprints. A link is provided, so that readers can download and print their own design grids for personal use.

In conclusion, I found that The Unofficial Lego Builder's Guide contains a lot of technical Lego knowledge. While this book may not be the right choice for someone looking to get inspiration for a new model, it should certainly provide them with the techniques for building well-constructed and excellent-looking models. For new Lego builders and experienced designers alike, this book is a worthwhile purchase and a worthy addition to the Lego-building table or bookshelf.

The Unofficial Lego Builder's Guide, 2nd Edition may be purchased here from No Starch Press or here from

Images used with permission from No Starch Press.

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